Skip to main content

Emily's Ghost by Denise Giardina

Emily's Ghost is the first novel I've read by Denise Giardina, but it's not Giardina's first novel.  Even though the book is based on real life people, it is important to note (and not forget) that this is a novel of historical fiction, and, based on some readings I've done online, great liberties were taken in the portrayal of the characters based on real people and the relationships and dynamics between said characters.  I've also read other online reviews of the novel--some people liked it, others didn't.  One person took extreme issue with the title because it is misleading.  The subtitle is "A Novel of the Bronte Sisters," and I must admit the subtitle did puzzle me a bit because the novel and title clearly focus on Emily Bronte.  I thought the subtitle made it sound as if this might be the first in a series.  Whether this is true or not, I have no idea.  I'm not sure that I would read subsequent novels in this series.

I felt as if this novel was a little slow to start, but once you read through the first several chapters, you get sucked in pretty quickly to the world of the characters and their story.  Anyone who's read a bit about the Bronte sisters and knows their fates can't help but feel a pallor of doom hanging over the family as the story develops.

Emily is the odd sister; she wears no petticoats and her hair wild about her shoulders; she walks alone upon her beloved moors and has no regard for or desire to adhere to the social mores of the day.  She has no time for men and no interest in marrying because she does not wish to give up her freedom.  With an active imagination and inner life, Emily writes poetry and stories and harbors a desire to write a novel.

When her father hires a new, young curate named William Weightman to help out with the church duties, a unexpected and growing friendship blooms between Weightman and Emily.  But death and tragedy stalk the poor inhabitants of Haworth and the Bronte family is not immune when tragedy visits them as well, and Weightman's and Emily's friendship is forced to continue long beyond this life.

Ultimately this is a fascinating portrait of a family and the difficult, complicated dynamics among the sisters.  This leads to a harrowing, heartbreaking, even more tragic end when the literary legacies of two of the sisters is left in the hands of the third sister, who understood the other two least.

This book is available in the library.  Check it out the next time you visit!

--Reviewed by Ms. Angie


Popular posts from this blog

Broken by Karin Slaughter

Before I begin the formal review there are a few things I need to get off my chest in the wake of finishing this book; I'll do so without giving away too many (or any) spoilers.
The OUTRAGE!: the identity of Detective Lena Adams' new beau; the low depths to which Grant County's interim chief has sunk and brought the police force down with him; agent Will Trent's wife, Angie's, sixth sense/nasty habit of reappearing in his life just when he's slipping away from her. Thank God for small miracles though because while Angie was certainly referred to during the book, the broad didn't make an appearance. One sign that I've become way too invested in these characters is that I'd like to employ John Connolly's odd pair of assassins, Louis and Angel, to contract out a hit on Angie; do you think Karin Slaughter and John Connolly could work out a special cross over?
Hallelujah: Dr. Sara Linton and agent Will Trent are both back. There is no hallelujah for…

Crow Lake by Mary Lawson

When the end came, it seemed to do so completely out of the blue, and it wasn't until long afterward that I was able to see that there was a chain of events leading up to it. Some of those events had nothing to do with us, the Morrisons, but were solely the concern of the Pyes, who lived on a farm about a mile away and were our nearest neighbors." from page seven
I must confess that it took me longer than it really needed to in order to finish the novel Crow Lake by Mary Lawson. The entire story is building up to the big catastrophe that forever destroys all the hopes and dreams the Morrison clan ever dared to hope and dream for its future. In the eyes of the narrator, it is even worse than the tragedy of the car crash that claimed both parents' lives one evening on the heels of some good news the family has received and celebrated. Now you can see why I dreaded getting to the end of a book that drips in foreboding like nobody's business. What can be a worse tra…

In The Woods by Tana French

"What I warn you to remember is that I am a detective. Our relationship with the truth is fundamental, but cracked, refracting confusingly like fragmented glass. It is the core of our careers, the endgame of every move we make, and we pursue it with strategies painstakingly constructed of lies ... and every variation on deception. The truth is the most desirable woman in the world and we are the most jealous lovers, reflexively denying anyone else the slightest glimpse of her. We betray her routinely ... This is my job ... What I am telling you, before you begin my story, is this--two things: I crave truth. And I lie." opening lines of In The Woods chapter 1, pages 3-4
In The Woods by Tana French, an Irish writer, is an extremely well-written and well-crafted mystery novel. The downside is that this is French's debut novel, and her website (located at does not offer any insi…